Joe Luna (photo) left the Army in 2004 with high hopes of using his skills as a network communications specialist to snare a good-paying job.
But Luna, who served in Iraq and Germany, discovered his military training and war experience didn’t fit well in a changing job market. The military’s proprietary equipment was like nothing used in today’s workplace.
‘Even to get my foot in the door for a network administration job, I would have to be trained,’ said Luna, 28. ‘And I didn’t have a college degree.
‘But I knew what it took to get the job done.’
So Luna followed his instincts, eventually becoming a partner in a company called Activkidz, which sells active-play toys for children.
‘This is something that I can really get into,’ he said. ‘It has really been a grass-roots effort getting this off the ground, and it feels right.’
Experts say military veterans, including reservists and guardsmen, increasingly are joining the ranks of the self-employed.
The trend occurs, they say, in part because veterans’ military skill sets may not apply in the job market, the jobs they left no longer exist or they have undergone life-changing experiences.
The number of veteran-owned businesses in the United States is estimated at 4 million, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Census Bureau.